Issue - decisions
All members and reserves on the Planning Committee left the call to avoid any future allegations of predetermination or bias.
This included Councillors June Molyneaux, Christopher France, Aaron Beaver, Martin Boardman, John Dalton, Gordon France, Danny Gee, Tom Gray, Yvonne Hargreaves, Alistair Morwood, Neville Whitham, Alan Whittaker. As reserves Councillors Julia Berry, Val Caunce, Anthony Gee, Keith Iddon, Paul Walmsley.
The Executive Leader, Councillor Alistair Bradley, presented the report of the Director of Planning and Development which outlines the immediate challenges facing the council with regards to speculative applications seeking outline planning permission for housing development on sites which are not allocated for current housing development in the existing local plan.
The Chorley Local Plan designates 11 sites as safeguarded for future development needs, with one of those sites, Pear Tree Lane, Euxton the subject of a successful planning appeal in Summer 2020. Of the remaining 10 sites, the council have received and validated applications for housing on 5 of those. These will be determined in accordance with statutory requirements.
Following the outcome of the Pear Tree Lane appeal the Planning Inspector instructs the council to make use of the Government Standard Method of 569 homes per annum. The council does not agree with this outcome nor the methodology behind the standard method and it leaves Chorley in a position that a 5 year supply of deliverable housing sites cannot be demonstrated on that basis.
It is the view of the council that it is for the local plan process to review strategically the cumulative impact of the future development of the borough as part of a comprehensive assessment. Given that Chorley has now delivered the bulk of the existing local plan allocations, a thorough review of the impact on infrastructure taking account of matters such as school places, transport, flooding and health is crucial. National policy is very clear that all development should be sustainable, and that green belt must be protected.
LCC Schools Planning Team are engaged in reviewing the data they use to plan for additional school places and other consultants are also engaged. Information considered at a recent meeting regarding school places will be emailed following the meeting.
The Leader of the Opposition, Councillor John Walker, reminded Councillor Bradley of comments by the Conservative Group made when the Local Plan was approved highlighting this issue and this was acknowledged.
Councillor Bradley noted that, in principle, applications for housing not in accordance with the existing local plan, are considered to be premature. These additional homes have not been accounted for in terms of plans for infrastructure needs such as schools, transport, and health services.
Chorley Council is of the view that the standard method is flawed, and it is for the local plan process to address longer term distribution and allocation of land for housing needs. The council strongly encourage our partners; land owners, agents, and developers to get involved in that process and talk to us about their future aspirations.
The council remain committed to a plan-led approach, to providing certainty to local communities as to the location of where new housing will be and that land designated as safeguarded is not intended to meet housing need now, it is for future generations. There is finite land available in Chorley and it must be used carefully.
The Executive Leader, Councillor Alistair Bradley proposed and the Deputy Leader, Councillor Peter Wilson seconded the Decision to note the update.
Councillors June Molyneaux, Christopher France, Aaron Beaver, Martin Boardman, John Dalton, Gordon France, Danny Gee, Tom Gray, Yvonne Hargreaves, Alistair Morwood, Neville Whitham, Alan Whittaker. As reserves Councillors Julia Berry, Val Caunce, Anthony Gee, Keith Iddon, Paul Walmsley were invited to rejoin the call.